A! Magazine for the Arts

Richard Graves (photo by Billie Wheeler)

Richard Graves (photo by Billie Wheeler)

Richard Graves creates surreal portraits

October 26, 2021

Richard Graves began to create pet portraits at the request of clients.

“Pet portraits have always been something that folks have asked for as soon as I started showing my work.I got requests, and the ones I did led to referrals, so it continued to be a part of my workflow.

“I work in several different styles, so a lot of times the biggest challenge is figuring out what approach to use with materials to get the most satisfying results.When doing commissions, I typically ask clients to look over previous work to see what resonates with them to get an idea on how to approach the portrait,” Graves says.

In addition to cats and dogs, he has painted portraits of fish, llamas and a tiger (which was not a personal pet). He says that the time frame to create a portrait varies depending on his workload, but it generally takes a few days.

His clients choose to commission a pet portrait to celebrate the joy a pet brings to a family, memorialize a friend who has passed on or as a gift.

Graves is a graduate of Emory & Henry College and studied there as well as under mentors and artists throughout his life.

“My style can most commonly be descripted as ‘surreal portraiture,’ and the medium varies and incorporates a variety of materials, but I most often work in transparent wet media such as watercolor, inks and gouache.My approach to much of my art is to work in transparent layers that build on top of each other, while not blending to the point of hiding the process.I like to have the previous layers show through as a stylistic and symbolic approach of seeing the subject fully, into their emotional and inner selves.

“My background in broadcast journalism is the biggest inspiration for me.I worked in college and public radio for a decade before doing art professionally, and it gave me an appreciation for the joy and responsibilities of helping people tell their stories, and that is a perspective I like to approach all my art and illustrative work with,” Graves says.

He received the 2019 Reece Museum award for his work in the Fl3tch3r Exhibit.

To learn more about Graves or to commission a pet portrait for yourself or a gift-giving opportunity, visit www.richardgravesart.com. There is a commission form on the site. He can also be reached by email, Richard.augustus.graves@gmail.com.

THERE'S MORE: Steven Reeves specializes in realistic portraits